We reached eleven months breastfeeding this week, and in a months time we’ll achieve our ‘golden boobies’.
I say ‘our’, because it’s been a team effort. We may not have a village to help raise our children any more, but as well as friends and family. There is support if you need it. Early days I had help from the breastfeeding advisors connected to the midwives , then through the health visitors, and more recently Le Leche League help-line and Facebook groups.
Several Facebook pages I follow, are also a great source of positive reinforcement and inspiration. A favourite is The Milk Meg, she’s an Australian Lactation Consultant and mum.
Breastfeeding award milestones.
Bronze = 3 months
Silver = 6 months
Gold = 12 months
Diamond = 18 months
Platinum = 24 months
My goal was to breastfeed for six months, and I feel very proud to be so close to a year.
Proud because it was hard in the beginning, and the first four months were a battle. What I can promise to any mum’s struggling right now, is, it does get easier.
There is no pain, I’ve not had thrush, milk plebs, mastitis or blocked ducts for months. My body has sorted these kinks and we’ve found a natural rhythm.
We don’t breastfeed hardly at all in the day now, and don’t need to in public. So I’m not stressed or anxious about, having enough time for sporadic feeds, or finding somewhere I feel comfortable.
Breastfeeding is peaceful, connection time.
It’s quiet, cuddles, just amazing, and I’m so grateful to have come on this journey.
My next goal, is to reach 12 months, and I’d like to celebrate in some way, so suggestions welcome? Obviously not overshadowing the main mans birthday of course.
Special matching T shirts? Or I could parade around in a golden bra, not likely.
What I have noticed is an increasing interest in when I’m stopping.
I know this isn’t malicious. It’s just so few women get to a year, only 1 in 200. So it really isn’t the norm, and that’s quite sad. A lot of women stop when they go back to work, which for us in the UK is normally between 6 and 12 months.
Returning to work, the dreaded ‘w’.
I was due to go back at 8 months and just wasn’t ready mentally or emotionally. I suffered anxiety and a lot of this stemmed from not knowing how I could continue to breastfeed and work full-time, run a house, be a wife, mum etc. Therefore I completely get why mum’s stop, it can seem all too much.
Going back to work when Harrison was ten and a half months, I felt so much better. He was bigger, stronger, crawling, two months in baby development, so much changes, so it made all the difference for me.
I’m sure he would have been fine, but I wasn’t.
Ideally, I’d have liked to have a full year but, I found out I was pregnant the night before we moved in our new home. We used our savings for the house and had committed to a four month renovation so had to rely on maternity pay, which only goes so far.
Now Harrison feeds through the night, and when he’s with me, I offer in the day, but he mostly has an afternoon feed and nap. If he’s ill that changes and he feeds more. At nursery, or if he’s with Daddy or Nanna, he’s not really interested in having expressed milk.
I give the nursery two sippy cups, with 2oz milk in each, they give him one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but he’s not too fussed, and drinks 1oz at most all day. We defrost a pouch in the fridge over night, and decant in to the sippy cups and they keep them in the fridge. Nursery have said he mainly plays with it, sipping and spitting it out. If it continues like this, we will knock them on the head.
Goals after 12 months?
Well 18 months is the obvious one ‘diamond boobies’. But then The World Health Organisation recommend breastfeeding for two years or beyond. But I don’t really want to set a goal, I have enough pressure as a working mum. I’m very happy right now, and Harrison is really enjoying food in the day time, with the occasional boob in the afternoon, and night milk feeds. So until we encounter a problem, we’ll just carry on. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
There we’re times early on, I could not have imagined getting to 11 months, so I hope by sharing this, it may give a mum struggling with breastfeeding reassurance it does get easier. You can do it, and overcome obstacles, you didn’t think possible. You’re doing a great job.